(LOS ANGELES) Celebrity stylist Cher Coulter works her fashion magic on some of the best-dressed actors in Hollywood, from Kate Bosworth and Sienna Miller, to Nicole Richie and Orlando Bloom. Here, the leopard print-loving chicstress sounds off on red carpet emergencies, j’adoring the ’80s, and what she’s got against mermaids.
BY MICHELLE LEE
What’s the best perk of your job?
Definitely the travel. I went to Turkey twice last year with Orlando, which was great. I even got to tack on a few extra days to go around the markets. I also love going to fashion shows. It’s particularly fun if you get to go with a client and sit front row.
What’s the biggest challenge?
The competition, for sure. There are so many stylists now, and so many red carpets and so many famous people. I could start out with an amazing idea about how I want someone to look, but then someone else might have got that look first and done it in a different way. Also, there’s often only one sample worldwide of most of these gowns so you’re competing with editorial and competing with the designer’s own trunk shows.
Is it a big no-no to pull a dress for a client if it’s already been on a cover?
It used to be, but we can’t afford to be so picky anymore. If it’s an amazing dress, nine times out of 10 someone will be wearing it on a cover as soon as a sample is ready. Hopefully, the girl on the cover was styled with a different aesthetic than your client’s so you’re bringing something new.
Would a designer ever make another version of a dress for you in a different color?
I’m sure they would if I asked, but I’ve never had that happen because I’ve never had the time!
What’s your biggest red carpet pet peeve?
I think it’s boring when stars try and look so retro Hollywood. It’s like, for God’s sake, they did it way better the first time around! People miss the point of what’s going on now.
The Erdem dress you put Sienna in last year caused quite a stir. Discuss!
Oh, I loved that look. Notice how many other people since that moment have gone for a crop top? I’ve seen a million of them, and she was one of the very first! If you like fashion, that’s what’s important. There are a million mermaid dresses, and that’s not making you stand out. I’m just not a fan of mermaids!
The red carpet is definitely less fashion forward than the runway.
It is, but that’s OK because everyone will want that dress in 3 years time, you know? At least if something’s controversial, it sparks a conversation.
Is Oscar week super-stressful for you?
The Globes are actually much more stressful than the Oscars. You’ve just been away for the holidays and then you come back and—boom—you’ve got one week. With the Oscars, you’ve got more time. There are also newer collections that have just shown so you’ve got more choice. It’s a different beast.
How do you let off steam?
I walk my dog up the street every morning for an hour. That’s when I can concentrate. Her name’s Lovern. She’s like my little baby.
What’s your biggest worry on Oscar night?
Something tearing on the red carpet or that they’ll shoot it and it’s see-through. I’m really paranoid about stuff like that. I book a tailor for the day because a lot of the things that could go wrong are not really fixable by me.
Are malfunctions common?
They’re not common, but when they happen you panic. One time, a client was going to an event and the bloody zipper tore. I had to sew it back together myself. It wasn’t brilliant, but it worked.
Whose style do you most admire?
Carine Roitfeld’s style amazing. She’s a great role model for anyone.
How did you dress as a teen?
The ’80s were just brilliant. It was so individual. I’d make a lot of my own clothes. I made this velvet circle skirt that I’d wear with long socks and a bowler hat.
Who’s your favorite designer at the moment?
Probably Isabel Marant. I don’t know her very well, but she’s lovely. I’ve got her shoes and shirt on now!